What is Attic Insulation?

Ken Black
Ken Black
Spray foam insulation increases energy efficiency.
Spray foam insulation increases energy efficiency.

Attic insulation is a material that protects a home from extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, and is applied to the space above your ceilings. One may choose to apply this material by using one of two primary methods: rolls or blown-in method. The attic insulation chosen could also be made from one of several different materials. Insulation in the attic can help keep the home not only more comfortable, but also more energy efficient.

Rolls may also be called batts or blankets. This type of attic insulation is very common, especially in attics with a great deal of crawl space or standing room. As its name would suggest, the insulated material is on rolls, with a paper backing, or perhaps a backing with a reflective material. It is then laid out in the attic in flat lines. The reflective material helps turn away some of the heat, while the insulation helps absorb as much of the rest as possible.

Blown-in, or loose-fill insulation, is another type of attic insulation that many choose because it is economical and easy to install. It conforms well to empty spaces, thus providing the opportunity for even greater protection in hard-to-reach areas. This insulation can be used in many different locations, but the attic is one of the more common locations to find it in a home or building.

Another possibility is rigid foam insulation in the attic. This can be a very difficult type of insulation to install in an attic, especially if the building has not been designed for it, as is the case with most pre-existing homes and buildings. The foam pieces that are laid into place are generally considered to be one of the most effective types of insulation because the material is so dense.

The materials used for attic insulation can vary somewhat, depending on the type of insulation chosen. For example, rolls of insulation are typically fiberglass and rock wool. Blown insulation is often either fiberglass, rock wool, or cellulose. Foam insulation may be some sort of synthetic product such as polystyrene or polyurethane.

The R-values are a very important part of attic insulation as well. In the United States and many other temperate countries, the amount of insulation in the attic should be between R-30 and R-60. The larger value is for the more extreme climates, either very hot or very cold weather. The lower value reflects climates where temperatures remain more comfortable throughout the entire year.

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    • Spray foam insulation increases energy efficiency.
      Spray foam insulation increases energy efficiency.